Decompressive Laminectomy/Foraminotomy

A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed on the lower spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots. In this operation, the surgeon reaches the lumbar spine through a small incision in the lower back. Through this opening, your surgeon will reach the area where your cauda equina and/or spinal nerve(s) are being pinched. A retractor is used to pull aside fat and muscle to expose the vertebra. A fine drill is then used to remove a section of the lamina. Next, an opening is cut in the ligamentum flavum through which the spinal canal can be reached.

Once the spinal nerve root(s) and cauda quina have been exposed, the pressure is relieved when your surgeon uses a fine drill to remove the source of compression – bone spurs or rough edges of the intervertebral disc. When the foramen becomes clogged with debris, nerve roots may become irritated resulting in inflammation.

Relieve Pressure on the Nerves in the Lower SpineLumbar Laminectomy Surgery Example

Your surgeon will shave open the inside of the foramen (window) to increase its size. This procedure (foraminotomy) provides ample space for the nerves and eliminates compression, allowing the inflammation and associated pain to diminish. The open windows allow the nerves exiting the spinal column to easily slip through the foramen.

Laminectomy for Patients with Spinal Stenosis

A laminectomy is effective to decrease pain and improve function for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a condition that primarily afflicts elderly patients, and is caused by degenerative changes that result in enlargement of the facet joints.

The enlarged joints then place pressure on the nerves, and this pressure may be effectively relieved with a lumbar laminectomy. Contact our specialists at Spine Center Atlanta today.